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11-07-2012, 11:01 AM
  #29
blinkman360
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I'll go a little off the board... here goes:

Let's assume the lockout whipes out the entire season and we end up with the 5th pick in the draft:

Trade Brock Nelson and the 5th overall pick to Phoenix for Keith Yandle: Phoenix is stacked on defense both at the NHL level and below, and they could definitely use some talent up front. Obviously Nelson is a great prospect, but with Tavares, Strome, Nielsen and Cizikas looking like they have the NHL center positions locked up going forward, I think Nelson becomes a very valuable trade chip. The 5th pick would give the Yotes an opportunity to draft a guy like Lindholm, Shinkaruk or Lazar which would give them another potential gamebreaker on offense. Yandle will give us a much needed young, veteran top-2/3 defenseman.

Sign Raffi Torres: Another 'Yote. I know he's hated, but IMO he'd be a perfect fit for this team. He brings an element of toughness and intensity that this team desperately needs. He should also come relatively cheap.

These would be my only moves. I would like to add a 1st-line RW to go with JT and Moulson, but I just can't see a guy like Perry or Iginla coming here. I think Iginla would like to remain a Flame or go to a contender, and I think Perry will go to the highest bidder which will be out of our price range. I suppose we could use the trade market to go after a guy like Ryan, but IMO our trade assets would be better served bringing in a quality defenseman, whether that be Yandle, Subban, or whoever is available.

That said, this would end up being my lineup:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Nino Niederreiter
Josh Bailey - Ryan Strome - Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom - Frans Nielsen - Michael Grabner
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Travis Hamonic
Mark Streit - Griffin Reinhart
Andrew MacDonald - Matt Carkner
x-Matt Donovan/Calvin deHaan
**eventually phase Carkner out into that 7th spot, and impliment deHaan or Donovan(preferrably deHaan if he fully recovers)

Evgeni Nabokov
Anders Nilsson/Kevin Poulin
**I'd prefer a two goalie rotation, but ultimately I'd be fine with riding the hot hand. We'll see who is the better goaltender at the time between Nilsson and Poulin.

I think that lineup gives us 3 potential scoring lines(one of which could be elite depending on how Tavares, as well as Nino continue to develop), and one ultra-checking line with Martin-Cizikas-Torres. IMO that could be one of the least desirable lines to play against in hockey, and they still could have the potential to chip in offensively from time to time.

Defensively, I would love to at least give Yandle and Hamonic a shot together to see how they perform. On paper they look like they could be a great pairing. While Reinhart might not be ready to go by this time, I don't think he would have much left to learn at the OHL level in '13/14 and the Isles might see this as an opportunity to introduce him to the NHL. In that case, I think Streit could be a great mentor and D-partner for the kid. Depending on how quickly Reinhart adapts, they could be a very reliable pairing in their own right. MacDonald and Carkner should start the season together, but depending on how Carkner plays, and how Donovan/deHaan are performing in Bridgeport, I could quickly see that changing.

The goaltending could be another questionmark, but the time has to eventually come when we give these kids a chance to see what they are capable of. Hopefully Nabokov is still as reliable then as he is now, so we will at least have a fallback option. In which case we can either choose to ride out the growing pains with the kids, or look for a goaltender in the 2014 offseason(Jonas Hiller, Ryan Miller, Miikka Kiprusoff, JS Giguere, Johan Hedberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Tomas Vokoun, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, among others, are set to become UFAs that offseason. Obviously most of them will re-sign(especially Lundqvist), but chances are at least a couple of them make it to the UFA market(especially one of Halak or Elliott)).

On top of all of this, we'll still have guys like Kabanov, Lee, Sundstrom, Persson, Mayfield, Pelech, Kichton, Pedan, Pokka, etc. in the pipeline, as well as 2013 and 14 draft picks, leaving us with a pretty strong system still. Maybe not as much on the high end scale, but still very deep.

Whether or not the Yandle trade(or one like it) could or would go through, I still think we will have a very good team in the very near future regardless. Hopefully the rest of these guys can stay healthy in the meantime.

***Sorry for the long-windedness

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